legend love
Now this is some truly legendary man love.

The Indiana Pacers: If the Pacers hadn't been outscored 41-19 in the first quarter, fallen behind by as many as 24 points, or shot 6-for-23 in the fourth quarter, they might have actually beaten the cHeat last night.

The worst part is, I'm being completely serious.

Despite some truly bawful first half play, Indy actually went into the fourth quarter with a one-point lead. They were still up by three points when Chris Bosh tied the game by nailing a triple with 9:15 left. It was Bosh's sixth trey of the season...and a dark omen for the Pacers because they went flat broke after that shot.

Said Pacers coach Frank Vogel: "I'm proud of our guys. This is what I'm talking about when I talk about smashmouth basketball, blood and guts, never quitting. All heart, all hustle."

All heart, all hustle, no victory.

In related news, Dwyane Wade (41 points and 12 boards) scored 31 in the first half. That tied the Miami franchise record for most first half points set by...Sherman Douglas. Didn't see that comin', did ya? Well, unless you read the game recap, of course. Anyway, Douglas set that record on December 27, 1990, against, who else, the 1990-91 Denver Nuggets.

Imagine my complete and utter lack of surprise.

Anyway, as exciting as it is that the Nazgul combined for 90 points, it simply underscores the fact that the cHeat got a combined 6 points from starters Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mario Chalmers and only 14 points off the bench (9 from Ericka Dampier and 5 on 1-for-7 shooting from Eddie "In Da" House).

I mean, even if you go only by PER, Miami (according to the handy-dandy PER reference guide) is surrounding the Big Three Poopyheads with a bunch of players who rank between "In the rotation" and "Scrounging for minutes."

Pat Riley will probably be able to fill out the roster next summer (assuming there isn't a lockout). But the lousy supporting cast will likely haunt this team in the playoffs. Well, that and the fact that King Crab and the RuPaul of Big Men tend to have their balls drop off during the postseason.

Okay, fine, this was pretty sweet.

Dwyane Wade, quote machine: Emphasis mine: "With the caliber players that we have, especially myself and Chris and LeBron, we're able to run the full-court offense, get good shots, high percentage shots."

Roy Hibbert, quote machine, Part 1: "We got smacked in the mouth pretty hard, repeatedly."

Roy Hibbert, quote machine, Part 2: "The rest of the season, we're coming," Hibbert said. "We're not backing down. We're not having any lackadaisical games. We're on the prowl. We're hungry."

The Utah Jazz: Channing Frye scored a career-high 31 points. He had 19 of those points in the first quarter, during which he went 7-for-7 from the field, including 5-for-5 on threes.

Apparently, when Jerry Sloan resigned, he took Utah's defense with him.

In all fairness, the Jazz were without the Russian Rifle (sprained right big toe), Raja Bell (strained left calf), Ronnie Price (sprained right big toe) and Mehmet Okur (strained lower back). Still...the only thing that stopped Frye was the fact that the Suns stopped going to him. And what was up with that anyway?

Said Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry: "I guess I've got to do the playground thing and tell them when the guy is hot, we need to try and find him."

The "playground thing"? Uhm, Alvin, that's called the "coaching thing," and I suggest you give it a try next time Frye is burning off eyebrows.

In related news, the Suns have won seven of their last night games and moved a game above .500.

Andrei Kirilenko and Ronnie Price: Sprained toes? Really, guys?

Deron Williams: Freed from coach Sloan's restrictive and smothering flex offense, D-Will went 2-for-11 and got lit up by Steve Nash (20 points and 14 assists). Speaking of which, Nashty moved into seventh place on the all-time career assists list and into 10th place on the made three-pointers list.

Channing Frye, advice-taking machine: [Suns assistant coach Igor Kokoskov] kind of challenged me and said, 'We pay you to make shots.' I said, 'All right,' so I went out there and just shot."

The Philadelphia 76ers: It was a first quarter knockout last night in Memphis. During the first 12 minutes, the Care Bears outscored the Sixers 26-10.

Said Philly coach Doug Collins: "They just rocked us in the first quarter and got us on our heels. They did anything they wanted to."

Credit Doug and his team for clawing their way back into the game and pulling to within a couple points (77-75) by the end of the third quarter. But turnovers -- 17 in all -- undid the Sixers. Mind you, they're second in the league in fewest TOs per game (14). They got more than halfway there (8) in the first quarter.

Said Collins: "Then we made three bad plays [to start the fourth quarter]. That's what happens when you're fighting uphill. We get it to two, and then they get on a run."

Actually, here's how Philly opened the fourth: Thaddeus missed 21-footer; Jodie Meeks shooting foul on Zach Randolph; Young missed jumper; Young turnover (stolen by Tony Allen); Evan Turner missed 21-footer; Meeks shooting foul on Mike Conley; Lou Williams lost ball (stolen by Conley).

By the time Conley ripped the ball from Williams and converted a fast break lay up, Memphis was up by 10 points and preparing to cruise.

Said Young: "This is one of the most aggressive teams we've played just because the lineups they put in the game are so strong. They try to outmuscle you and out-quick you to everything. Those guys just outhustled us."

Don't forget outplayed, Thaddeus.

The Sacramento Kings: The Oklahoma City Thunder scored 68 points during the first two quarters. That was a season-high for a half. They finished with 126 points. That was a season-high for a single game. They won by 30. That was a season-high for margin of victory.

Need I say more?

Said Paupers coach Paul Westfail: "They jumped on us right from the start and we could never get back in the game. It was a great performance by them. We couldn't stop them. We couldn't score."

Couldn't stop them and couldn't score. But other than that, Sacramento played great.

On the bright side, DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 13 rebounds, proving he should always get into a fight on the team plane and then get suspended for a game before every game. Wait, let me think about that one again...

The Kings have lost six of seven and are 13-39. Only four wins better than the Cleveland Cadavers.

sad kings bench
Hiding behind a towel won't make that last fact not true, Donte Green.

The New Orleans Hornets: They're good! They suck. No, wait, they're good! No, wait again, they suck.

Which is it? I have no idea.

New Orleans opened the season 11-1 in their first 12 games. Then they went 10-15 in their next 25 after coach Monty Williams made his infamous "Looking at our record, it might be fools' gold" comment. Then they won 10 straight. Now they've dropped eight of 10, a stretch that has included losses to the Kings (13-39), Timberwolves (13-42) and Nyets (17-39).

The Hornets went ahead by as many as 15 points and then trailed by as many as 20. Chris Paul was 4-for-4 and scored 11 points in the first nine minutes of the game. Then he shot 0-for-8 and was held scoreless over the final 39 minutes.

Said Paul: "They were all easy shots, shots that I should have made. It was nothing they did."

The "they" CP3 was talking about were the Warriors. And if Paul doesn't want to credit Gol_en State's _efense -- which held the Hornets to 89 points -- then what's the other alternative?

Oh, right. That the Hornets just suck. You know, when they're not good.

Did I mention that Vladimir Radmanovic scored 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting?

The Charlotte Bobcraps: In my Bobcats-Bulls preview at By The Horns, I wrote: "According to TeamRankings.com, Charlotte is 4-12 on the second night of back-to-back games, and they rank 27th in both Win Percentage (25.0) and Point Differential (-7.8). The only teams below them in Win Percentage are the Cavaliers (23.5), Wizards (15.4) and Nets (14.3). The only teams below them in differential are the Pistons (-8.0), Wizards (-9.5) and Cavaliers (-9.9)."

Sure enough, one night after giving the Lakers their worst beating since last season, the Bobcraps traveled to Chicago, lost by 12 and fell to 4-13 on the second night of back-to-backs.

Frankly, the 'Craps looked gassed. Gerald Wallace finished with 6 points on 3-for-9 shooting. D.J. Augustin had 5 points on 1-for-4 shooting. Stephen Jackson didn't even have enough left in the tank to pick up a technical foul.

Said Charlotte coach Paul Silas: "My starting guys just didn't have it tonight."

That was most evident on the defensive end. The Bulls had an Offensive Rating of 119.7 and lit it up from the outside. Kyle Korver did his best Mr. Perfect impression (5-for-5 from the field, 3-for-3 from downtown, 2-for-2 from the line) and finished with 15 points in 15 minutes. Chicago was 7-for-14 from downtown and 12-for-22 from 16-23 feet. The Bobcraps conceded outside shots...and the Bulls hit 'em.

Chris's awesome lacktion ledger:

Bobcats-Bulls: Sherron Collins conjured a pair of bricks (once from the Sears Tower) in 1:43 for a +2, while the Bulls' James Johnson and Brian Scalabrine went 55 seconds on the Excitebike as MARIO TWINS! (Johnson also tossed one piece of masonry for a +1)

Sixers-Grizzlies: Xavier Henry had himself six seconds of fame for a Super Mario.

Purple Paupers-Thunder: Yep. Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson has been a key acquisition for the royal retreads, tossing FOUR bricks (twice from the stripe) and gathering up one foul in 6:12 for a +5!!!

Oklahoma City's Nick Collison notched three boards in 15:13, but also fouled four times and bricked twice for a 4:3 Voskuhl.

Jazz-Suns: Trio of Voskuhl ratios here...

Kyrylo Fesenko fumigated a board with two fouls and a turnover in 6:57 for a 2:1, while Francisco Elson earned the Madsen-level 1:0 by countering two assists in 7:49 with a brick and foul.

For Phoenix, starting big man Robin Lopez laid an egg on rebounds, and negated a field goal in 11:27 with two lost rocks and a foul for a 3:2.

Hornets-Warriors: David Andersen abdicated the positivity of three boards in 11:52 with six bricks (twice from the charity line), two fouls, and two turnovers for a 4:3 Voskuhl.

Labels:

31 Comments:
Anonymous Stockton said...
Well, all those "money-saving" moves finally caught up with the Jazz.

Let's see:
Deron-Maynor + Mathews-Bell at backcourt rotation sounds a lot better than Deron-Watson + Bell-Gayward, no? Not to mention loosing Brewer, with his tenacious D and awfull shot.
Puting a lot of the season's hopes on Iceman "one freebie per year" Kirilenko and Bad Back Okur is either a sign of strenght...
Not to mention the Jazz lost the last real bada$$ in town when Harpring retired...

Blogger D. said...
I don't know why, but that picture of MJ & Pip makes me feel all warm inside.

Blogger chris said...
I think about the only thing the Purple Paupers have to look forward to this year is Darnell "Lacktion" Jackson likely earning a Null-Star nod. Again.

Anonymous William said...
Worst of yesterday for Maurice Brooks, in his awards watch feature: http://espn.go.com/nba/notebook/_/page/Awards-110215/nba-awards-watch

"The Mavs have won 11 of their past 12 games with Dirk leading the way. Is he a better player than the two players above him? [LeBron and D-Rose] No. Is he more valuable to his team than they are? Maybe."

Seriously? I know Derrick Rose has had a good ~three seasons so far, and is somehow in the MVP discussion, but he ain't no Dirk Nowitzki.

Also, word verification = 'frail'. I feel compelled to make a Portland Trailblazers comment... so... I'm totally fine with Aldridge not making the All-Star team.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Here's a scary thought: The Heat could have drafted Kevin Love or Russell Westbrook instead of Beasley.

I am not sure if they would have been able to keep them, but can you imagine Love down low instead of Joel Anthony? My word...

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Anon, I was actually having that discussion with a friend of mine. Last year, I would have argued that "oh we coulda had Brook Lopez" but now even he's a flaming bag of suck.

I don't think Love could play center here, and his defense is atrocious as is. The Warden (Joel) at least works his butt off on D.

Blogger stephanie g said...
"Yo J, I lost 120 million dollars due to bad investments and financial planning and you're worth like, a billion. Can I borrow a million or two? For old time's sake?"

"Oh Pip, you were always the funny one."

Blogger Will said...
Bawful, 2 things.
1. You're gonna bring that second Hibbert quote up next week when the Pacers get blown out 127-74 after giving up 69% shooting to the Wizards, right?
2. How did you know that was Donte Green under that towel? Is your knowledge of NBA tattoos so vast that one glance at that forearm scribbling and you knew who it was? (It was in the caption, wasn't it.)

Blogger Basketbawful said...
"Yo J, I lost 120 million dollars due to bad investments and financial planning and you're worth like, a billion. Can I borrow a million or two? For old time's sake?"

"Oh Pip, you were always the funny one."


Sad. But very possibly true.

1. You're gonna bring that second Hibbert quote up next week when the Pacers get blown out 127-74 after giving up 69% shooting to the Wizards, right?

Absolutely.

2. How did you know that was Donte Green under that towel? Is your knowledge of NBA tattoos so vast that one glance at that forearm scribbling and you knew who it was? (It was in the caption, wasn't it.)

Heh, yes, it was in the caption.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
ESPN's Carmelo Anthony Slot Machine.

My brain just exploded from the stupid.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
ESPN's Carmelo Anthony Slot Machine.

My brain just exploded from the stupid.


I saw that.

Who wasted their time programming that thing? Who gave it the green light? Sad all the way around.

Blogger Dooj said...
What is that slot machine supposed to do?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Make you hate life.

Blogger chris said...
Who wasted their time programming that thing? Who gave it the green light?

Bawful, these are the same folks who think the stupid comic Girls & Sports is worth posting EVERY DAY on ESPN.com.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
Who wasted their time programming that thing?

As a programmer, the answer to this question is, Whichever dumbass..

Who gave it the green light?

Yeah. That guy.

What is that slot machine supposed to do?

Make you hate life.


On the plus side, AnacondaHL, did you notice that Vag Carter's overpaid ass was firmly nailed to the bench in crunch time last night, hugging Jared Dudley and Robin Lopez? That makes you not hate life.

Craptors/Miami tonight - I'm going to put the Andrea Bargnani getting facialed-line at 4.5, with one teabagging each by Bron and Wade.

Oh, shit, my mistake, you have to be somewhere in the vicinity of the painted area to get dunked on. Not deathly allergic to it.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Bawful, these are the same folks who think the stupid comic Girls & Sports is worth posting EVERY DAY on ESPN.com.

So I'm not the only person whose nuts shrivel while reading that comic? I thought maybe I just didn't get it or something.

Craptors/Miami tonight - I'm going to put the Andrea Bargnani getting facialed-line at 4.5, with one teabagging each by Bron and Wade.

Oh, shit, my mistake, you have to be somewhere in the vicinity of the painted area to get dunked on. Not deathly allergic to it.


Man, those poor Craptors. At 15-40 they're not that much better than Cleveland, but the Cadavers get all the sympathy.

I mean, their future is dreck, too, isn't it? They're paying almost $30 million this season for Bargs, Barboso, Calderon and Evans. Jose is signed through 2012-13 (when he'll be making a cool $10.5 million) and Bargs is signed through 2014-15 (when he'll be making $12 million). I guess they'll have some cap space next season, but who's going to Toronto? Nobody.

Anonymous Angry Canuck said...
Thanks for reminding us of how much our team sucks.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
The Other Chris - Why yes, in fact ever since the Golden State games, Carter's been completely out of 4th quarter lineups. It is incredible. I am also happy Gortat buys into the "off the bench but 30+ minutes" system, so that Lopez can absorb early game fouls and Gortat can be fresher for the 4th.

However, my hatred of life stems from yet again having these Suns sucker me into yet another season of Hope. The best I can wish for isn't even a championship, it's to knock out the Spurs, or the Lakers, or both whatever, in the playoffs, GSW-style.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Thanks for reminding us of how much our team sucks.

But they're not the Clippers!!

Blogger Will said...

Blogger The Weekly Gazelle said...
Chris - Just a few lactions that you missed:
-Isn't a 6 second Mario a Super Mario? (Xavier Henry)
-DJ "Jazzy" Mbenga had 6 min 2 FGA (one blocked) against one reboud.
-Sherron "who" Collins had almost 1.75 Trillion (1:43) without any stats
-And 55 second Mario Bros. for Scalabrine and James Johnson (1 missed FGA)

I hate to be a schtickler. I'm not sure why I was paying so much attention to the laction last night.
I kind of like the Carmello slot machine, if only for another way to make fun of him. It's almost as stupid and meaningless as him taking off his hat to himeself. ESPN is up to the challenge.

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
I mean, their future is dreck, too, isn't it? They're paying almost $30 million this season for Bargs, Barboso, Calderon and Evans. Jose is signed through 2012-13 (when he'll be making a cool $10.5 million) and Bargs is signed through 2014-15 (when he'll be making $12 million).

Man, is it ever. But I mean, even if we were to bottom out, there's no franchise players in this year's draft, and there's probably going to be a lockout anyways, which ensures that the already weak draft is going to be even weaker...

I don't see a realistic way out of the basement for most of the league's punching bags - Toronto, Minnesota, New Jersey, Cleveland. Sacramento at least theoretically has upside.. The aforementioned quartet have no assets, nobody wants to play there, even high draft picks are useless.. Ugh.

I guess they'll have some cap space next season, but who's going to Toronto? Nobody.

Because the team is beyond awful with no hope of improvement anytime soon (agreed), or because of the ill-conceived notion that most players don't want to be in Toronto? Curious. I think that perception is overblown and absurd.. then again, I might be kinda biased.

Also, never underestimate professional athletes' ability to prioritize getting paid over winning. Hell, they only have a few years where they're raking in premium dollars; you'd be an idiot not to maximize your earnings in such a situation.

Blogger Joshua said...
I read your blog everyday, and everyday I endure a slanted, hateful bias against Lebron James because I really enjoy your style. I cannot, however, remain mute any longer. Lebron is a douche and a cry baby (I blame that last one on NBA culture. I mean even "winners" like Tim Duncan and Paul Pierce whine like starving cats when things don't go their way) and he did produce one of the most disappointing series I've witnessed live last season against the Celtics. Having said that, none of it changes the magnitude or "clutchness" of his 48 Special in '07, his two game winners against the Wizards, the 45 he put on the Celtics in Game 7 in '08, the 38, 8, and 8 he averaged against Orlando in '09 (a series that included a 49 6 and 8 game, a 41 and 9, a 44 12 and 7, and a 37 14 and 12 triple double in a must win Game 6), and a monster series against the Bulls in '10. He is clearly the most talented player in the league despite not having a post game or any in between game and he carried a terrible Celevland team farther than anyone else in the league could have. Swap Kobe or Pierce or '06 Wade with 2010 Lebron and I guarantee Lebron wins a title. Look at Cleveland right now. They lost Delonte, a head case who barely played last year, The Big Icy-Hot, and Lebron. No team in the history of the NBA has gone from having the best record to the worst in a single season. Not even the '99 Bulls and they lost Pippen, Rodman, Longely, and some cat named Mike. If Gilbert pulls the trigger on the Amare trade instead of getting and a tweener who doesn't play defense and only rebounds when there are no other rebounders on the floor, then I honestly think the Cavs win the title in 2010. Thanks for the blogs and keep up the good work.
PS I loved the Pick Up Diaries. You should really consider bringing that one back.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
the 38, 8, and 8 he averaged against Orlando in '09 (a series that included a 49 6 and 8 game, a 41 and 9, a 44 12 and 7, and a 37 14 and 12 triple double in a must win Game 6)...

I just checked that must-win Game 6 against Orlando in '09 and this is what I see: 25 points, 8-for-20 from the field, 2-for-8 from downtown, 7-for-11 from the line, 6 boards, 7 assists, a block and 3 turnovers.

And the raw numbers don't always tell the tale. In game 3, which the Cavs lost 99-89, LeBron scored 41 points (with 9 assists and 7 boards), but he shot 11-for-28 from the field, went 1-for-8 from three-point range and 18-for-24 from the free throw line. So just in these two critical games, James was 3-for-16 from beyond the arc with 10 missed free throws. He missed another eight freebies between Games 4 and 5.

Games 5 against the Celtics last year (15 points on 3-for-14 shooting) was even worse that those numbers look, and Game 6 (27 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists) was one of those classic "The numbers will vindicate me" performances. People will look at the box score and assume he was giving his all...but those who watched the game know differently.

My take: LeBron started to wear down under the scrutiny of being The Man of Men. It was easier for him in '07 and '08 because his team was the underdog, was expected to lose. When his team was tops in the league, by quite a lot by the way, he got the yips.

Fortunately for him, he'll have D-Wade around to take care of the clutch playoff duties.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Bawful -- Chris and I read the comments section each day on Page 2 for the Girls & Sports comics. Unlike the comics themselves, the reader comments are friggin' hilarious.

Blogger chris said...
The Weekly Gazelle: Thanks for the pointers, I missed that Super Mario for sure.

Dan and I are compiling our season-long lacktion data for the upcoming NULL-STAR GAME!

Blogger chris said...
Also noticed that I did originally write out the Scalabrine thing last night and then it didn't get copied and pasted. I'll have to doublecheck my archives at home and see what I did wrong.

However, we have a good idea who our trillionare and video gaming leaders are right now. :D

Blogger AhmedF said...
I agree with Joshua on this one. LeBron, for all intents and purposes, seems to be a douche living in a cozy ass bubble where everyone is his bitch.

But - to blame him for Cavs' meltdown is unfair. I can't recall the last team to win it all with one superstar who didn't have role players step up (Hakeem). The fact is that the Cavs were absolutely awful, with their second best player being Varejao.

After Orlando-Cavs 2 years ago, I have no clue how he did not cuss out his teammates. Mo and Delonte were just so god awful I felt ashamed for them.

@AhmedF: I can't disagree. The non-Bron Cavs sans Varejao failed to show up in the postseason the past couple years. We just couldn't match up that well to Orlando and Boston.

On the other hand, seeing what partnering with King Crab did to the careers of Williams, West, and Larry Hughes, and how badly the non-Nazgul Heat have been faring, I'm really wondering if this is a feature of playing with Lebron and not a bug. Is it just a matter of them being exposed or is it something else?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I find it hard to believe that Westfail believes the Kings did well. Ya misquoted him! Ya done goofed. He's thinking what we're all thinking

Blogger AhmedF said...
Well - it could be a feature of LeBron ... if the other players were ever any good without him. Williams, West, and Hughes have been pretty mediocre on non-Lebron teams.

Hell I just had to look up if Hughes was still in the league (and the answer is - he ain't).

I just remember the ORL-CLE series where West and Williams missed a hailstorm of wide open 3s.

And the non-Nazgul Heat were also pretty awful before he or Bosh arrived. But you can see that James Jones is scoring and shooting way above his normals.

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